Vertluch: Parshas Bamidbar

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“Ezra decreed that Klal Yisroel should read the Tochacha in Bechukosei prior to Shavousas as well as the Tochacha in Mishna Torah prior to Rosh Hashana. The reason being, that the year should end along with its curses. This explains with why we lain the klolos before Rosh Hashana, so we should end off the year with its curses, but is Shavous considered a Rosh Hashana? Yes, as we learn from the mishna (Rosh Hashana 16a) that on Shavous we are judged on the fruits.”(Megillah 31b)

The Shloh points out that on Shavous we are judged on our Torah. How much Torah a person will acquire throughout the upcoming year is decided on this Yom Tov.

Tosfos in Megillah (16a) points out even though the gemara says to read the tochacha right before Shavuos we still have an interruption from Bechukosei until Shavous with the laining of Bamidbar. Why? Says Tosfos, because we don’t want to go straight from curses into Shavous.

The question is why are we mafsik between the tochacha and Shavuos with the laining of parshas Bamidbar? What is unique about this specific parsha that it protects us from the tochacha?

Rav Mordechai Druk, ztl offers the following thought:

If one looks into the pasukim he will see how each shevet is represented with its own flag, unique in color and design. However, these flags were not actually given to them until now which was two years after they had left Mitzrayim. If these flags were so important why did we wait so long to receive them?

Secondly, it would seem as if every single shevet represented themselves individually-each with their own logo and color-not as a group making up klal Yisroel. What is the rationale behind that?

Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, ztl, explains that had this directive occurred immediately after our exodus from Mitzaryim then a deep rooted segregation would’ve happened. But once we waited for the Aron Hakodesh to be constructed, this symbolized that we were all drawn to the same source. The Aron was the core that kept us all together. True, we each had our own flags, but we weren’t acting independently; we were all drawn to same focal point and to the same origin which was the Aron.

Berachos are not magic. Someone who receives a beracha must also possess the ability for the beracha to have an effect on them. Certain people are simply unworthy of berachos because it requires an area in that person’s life upon to take effect, and they are lacking. A beracha allows a person to expand, to flourish and to flow to higher levels – not to create something new. When Esav came to Yitzchok and asked for a beracha, he couldn’t give him one. He understood that Esav wasn’t a vessel for which a beracha would take effect upon. The same we saw true by Bilam; he was unable to curse us. He tried very hard through ayin hara, the egel and many other false attempts, but to no avail. The reason was that when Klal Yisroel is doing what they are supposed to be doing it can’t take effect.

A klala, a curse, can only come about when people stop learning and stop doing mitzvos. Parshas Bamidbar, which deals with all the flags, the achdus, the counting of bnei Yisroel and the Torah reminds us of what were supposed to be doing with our time and how we’re supposed to be living our lives.

Bamidbar therefore serves as our defender because once it is read people realize what their tafkid is in this world is and what they are to be doing. When people start doing the things they’re C’V not supposed to be doing, only then can the klala take effect. Bamidbar puts things into perspective for us which then leads us directly into the yom tov of Shavous.

May we all be zoche.